Holidays will bring people back together after the bruises of Brexit, says Cosmos and Avalon Waterways chief executive Giles Hawke

Whichever side of the Brexit argument you are on, its inescapable that the situation over the last two and a half years has caused uncertainty and real divisions.

There are divisions between families, between colleagues and between businesses over whether we should be staying in, leaving or doing something that is as yet undefined with regards to our membership of the EU.

I have strong views on what we ought to be doing, but this column isn’t about my views on that.

What I believe we need to think about is how travel may be able to help heal the open wounds caused by very different ideologies that got us to where we are today.

Broaden our horizons

The whole reason for travel is to see different cultures and landscapes, meet people who are different from ourselves and broaden our horizons and thinking – yet the level of vitriol and abuse that has been seen on both sides of Brexit, largely led by our esteemed politicians, has been astounding.

We should value our differences and listen to other views and try and understand them, rather than judge and just shout louder about our own opinions.

Travel is a great example of this. We have the opportunity to see different things, meet different people and visit different places and learn from them rather than have an insular view of things which just reinforce our existing beliefs and behaviours.

At the time of writing this there is no certainty on where we are going with Brexit. Maybe by the time it is published we will have a clearer idea. Wherever that is, once we get there we all need to look at how we can make the best of whatever the situation is and pull together to encourage people to travel, to explore, to experience and to open their minds to different ideas and cultures.

Show our openness

Despite the uncertainty and the weakness of Sterling many people are still travelling and planning travel for the future. People may be downgrading in price, or changing destination, or waiting for late availability, but many are still going away and, once we have a fixed position, it is likely that many more will commit to going away as certainty, whatever that may look like, returns to the market.

If we can encourage customers to get away and experience everything the world has to offer we will all be doing our bit to show the world that the people of the UK don’t behave like our politicians, that we are generous of spirit and open to other experiences and cultures and that we see the world as a place to share and protect rather than be fearful of and closed to.

I believe that a holiday is the perfect antidote to the political situation we find ourselves in and those families who sit on opposite sides of the Brexit dividing line might find that they are brought together by taking a break away together to re-establish their relationships to a pre-Brexit level.

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